Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Finding Balance...

I know many of you can relate, finding balance in one's own life is a near impossible feat.

Over the past few months I've been trying my best to find balance and live my healthy lifestyle. Since the marathon (I use this term a lot) I've tried going back to the gym, taking spin classes, signing up for WW again, being more involved in the community and also trying to work more overtime. I feel like a fish out of water without my training schedule. I've come to realize I've lost my balance somewhere along the line.

I've decided to take up yoga again. This time it is a little different; I'm committing to a real yoga guru who does yoga out of her home. Her name is Lisa, from Lisa's Yoga.

This is her classroom. Beautiful, right?

Last night was my first class and words cannot describe how I felt when I had left. I walked in not knowing anyone and without any expectations. The room above was set-up with 10 foam pads we could put our yoga mats on. Some students were already laying on the ground with blankets provided by the studio. Everyone was already so relaxed and calm. We started off by doing some meditation and deep breathing, followed by some warrior poses and stretches.

To end the class, Lisa has us resume our corpse pose and as we all set into our deep relaxation she had shared the following story. This really struck a cord with me and I wanted to share it with you all.

The Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.
This resonated with me the rest of the night. Sometimes it takes a story like that to really open your eyes to what is going on around you and to accept the challenges you are faced with.
Can you relate to this story?
What do you do to find balance in your life?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jessica Little Photography

Hubby and I were featured in a promo video for an extremely talented local photographer, Jessica Little.

Check out her website and blog to see more of her work. If you live anywhere in the Niagara Region and are looking for a photographer for any occasion, please get in contact with her. She has passion for what she does and she has true artistic talent. This sets her apart from numerous photographers in the business and I'm sure you can tell by taking a short glimpse at her work.

Thanks again for having us in your video Jessica, and may your business continue to flourish in the New Year!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday #6 - Too Many Carbs!

Carbs - they are nasty little buggers aren't they?

I don't know what came over me today, but I was craving them like crazy. Fortunately I stayed within my allocated WW points; but now I'm left feeling full, blah and bloated.

Here were my eats for the day:

Breakfast, 8 Points+ (7:30 am):

  • Mango smoothie; 1 cup skim milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 1 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 banana
  • Tea
  • Vitamins 

I think breakfast was my downfall today, I normally would add protein powder but I was out of vanilla whey. When I don't start my day with a good dose of protein I tend to get really hungry come noon and in the evening.

Snack, 2 Points+ (10:00 am):
  • Fibre 1 - 100 calorie peanut butter bar
  • Banana

Lunch,  11 Points+ (12:30 pm):
  • Subway 6 Inch Ham sub with all the fixin's.

This is always my treat meal after each weekly weigh-in.

Snack, 2 Points+ (3:00 pm):
  • Oiko's Greek Yogurt - Cherry 0%

Dinner, 13 Points+ (6:00 pm):

So to satisfy my taste buds, I finished off my dinner with:
  • 4 triscuits
  • 1 piece light laughing cow cheese
  • Kellogg's Crisp Bar

Total Points+ used: 36

You live and learn while on this plan. All foods are not created equal. Though you may stay on track and stay within your daily points, you can still make food choices that may not work for you and your body. That's exactly what I did today and I can't wait until tomorrow to make better choices.

On that note, let me leave you with this quote which I find most inspiring on days like this:

Have a great evening everyone!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Quinoa-Chicken Burgers

I don't know what's in the air, but I've had quite the productive weekend this weekend. I've organized numerous cupboards, did a ton of laundry, grocery shopped, went to spin class, organized my office and had a chance to whip up a recipe today. It must be the New Year, I feel revitalized!

I had some ground chicken in my  freezer I didn't know what to do with. I've read a lot about quinoa burgers and have wanted to try them out for awhile, so I thought this would be the perfect combo. What's so great about this lean alternative to beef burgers is they are less greasy, full of fibre and packed with over 20 grams of protein per patty.

I try to use quinoa as much as humanly possible. I love it! Not only is it a nice change to the boring rice that we are used to, but it is jam packed with nutrients. It's a complete protein source which is great for vegans/vegetarians, but it is also packed with fibre.  phosphorus, magnesium and iron.

Oven Baked Quinoa-Chicken Burgers with an Avocado
Ricotta Dressing & Salsa


1 package ground chicken or turkey
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp coriander
1 small avocado
1 cup light ricotta cheese
Dash of salt


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix chicken  (or turkey), quinoa, cumin, cayenne pepper and coriander in a medium bowl. Shape into 5 patties. Place on parchment paper and cook in oven for 30-40 minutes, flipping about twice during cooking. Cook until patties have a nice golden crisp.

For avocado dressing; place avocado, ricotta and salt in small food processor. Blend until smooth.

I prefer to use the thin burger buns over the regular ones, plus they are only 4 points+ and very hardy. Top your burger with the avocado dressing and a tablespoon of salsa. Serve with a side of coleslaw or salad.

Quinoa-Chicken Burger: 6 Points+ each
Avocado Ricotta Dressing: 1 Points+ per Tablespoon

My entire meal as pictured above (1 burger, 1 cup broccoli slaw) was only 12 Points+, amazing!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Spanakopita Triangles

Who doesn't love a great Greek dish every now and then?

I made these low-point Spanakopita Triangles for my friend's New Years bash and they were a hit. The men even continued to eat them once they found out they were low-fat. That's a win!

These little 2 point snacks are not only good as an app, but you can pair them with a Greek salad for a filling meal. The best part? When you have 2 they are only 3 points!


Spanakopita Triangles


  • 1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 package of thawed (frozen) chopped spinach - drain as much water as possible
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 8 pieces of thawed (frozen) phyllo dough


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Thaw phyllo dough according to box. Thaw spinach in microwave or leave in fridge overnight. Mix first 8 ingredients in large bowl, set aside. Place 2 pieces of phyllo dough on parchment paper, spray cooking spray or brush light butter between both sheets. Use pizza cutter to cut dough into 5 vertical strips. Place large spoonful of mixture at bottom of each strip and roll according to diagram below.

Place triangles on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spray triangles with cooking spray, or brush with light butter. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Points+: 2 per triangle

As mentioned, eat alone as a snack or pair with a Greek salad. These are freezable in an uncooked state. So pop a few in the freezer and then pull them out and pop in the oven when you are in the mood for a quick bite.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday #5 - WW Edition

Happy Wednesday!

I hope you are all recovering from New Years and are back on track after the holidays.

My WIAW format has changed now that I am tracking with WW again. So instead of the calorie count and distribution I will be noting my meal points and daily points instead. I hope this gives some other WW member's an idea of what a daily menu should look like (or on my bad days, perhaps what your day should not look like). I try my best to stay on top of this weekly post, but usually fail as I have a hard time remembering to take photo's of my food. That being said, one of my blog resolutions for 2013 is to post my WIAW weekly.

For my weight, height and weight loss goal I have been allocated 29 points to consume per day. In addition, 49 weekly points to be distributed throughout the week however I may choose. I personally like to split these up during the week eating about 30-35 points per day, and any remaining weeklies and activity points I consume on the weekend.

Here were my eats for the day:

Breakfast, 9 Points+ (7:30 am):

  • Banana bread quinoa  I used Almond milk to sub in for creamer to lower the WW points. I had a large serving of 1 1/4 cup.
  • Tea
  • Vitamins

Snack, 3 Points+ (10:00 am):
  • 1 container PC blue menu Finesse 0% yogurt
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds

Lunch, 5 Points+ (12:30 pm):
  • Salad; 2 slices Roast beef deli-meat, 2 cups arugula, 1/4 cup green beans, small handful croutons, 1 TBSP blue cheese dressing
  • 2 pieces light laughing cow cheese

Snack, 3 Points+ (3:00 pm):
  • Kellogg's thin crisp bar
  • Apple

Dinner, 11 Points+ (6:00 pm):
  • 1 piece grilled chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • Cranberry sweet-potato bake
  • 1 TBSP Kraft fig balsamic dressing

Post Workout Snack, 4 Points+ (8:30 pm):
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 piece raw avocado

Total Points+ used: 35

Activity points earned: 5 - treadmill running

What are you doing to get back on track after the holidays?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Weekly Meal Planning

I've learned over the past couple years that weekly meal planning is crucial to my Weight Watchers success. When I don't meal plan I tend to frequent the grocery stores during the week to get last minute meals. These are usually higher in fat and calories then I would have liked, and it also ends up costing me a small fortune with these multiple trips.

On the weekened, I was planning my weekly trip to the grocery store and this is what it looked like:

I have my multiple recipes and cookbooks out, my weekly planner, one list of meals and snack ideas and finally my grocery list. I'm not really high tech when it comes to my meal planning, scribbling everything down on my multiple pieces of paper seems to work just fine for me.

When it comes to meal planning below are the steps I take as well as some tips to help you along:
  1. Start off by making a list of recipes you would like to make and snacks you would like to eat. I start off my list by categorizing each meal i.e. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Snacks and then list my ideas under each heading.
  2. Calculate out your WW points or calories before adding to your list - this will prevent you from making the wrong choices before you grocery shop.
  3. Look for recipes and meals where the ingredients are interchangeable. For example; arugula is used in 3 of my dishes this week, roast beef is used in 2. This will help cut down on your weekly grocery bill.
  4. Once you have your meal ideas, scribble the meals onto your weekly calendar. I like to mark down days that I'm home late and Dan has to fend for himself, nights that we both won't be home. This way I don't buy for too many meals. This also is beneficial because Dan knows what we are having for dinner that night and can start dinner before I get home.
  5. Write down all the ingredients needed from your meal plan onto a grocery list. I like to use categories on my list to help navigate the grocery store i.e. Produce, Dairy, Meat etc.
  6. If you have the extra time, start entering recipes and meals into your online tracker. This will save loads of time during the week.
  7. Lastly, never meal plan or grocery shop when you are hungry. I can almost guarantee you it will end in disaster!
If you want some more tips, please head over to my friend Dawn's blog and read her write-up on Meal Planning 101.

Happy New Year!

I wish all of my readers a very happy, prosperous and most importantly healthy new year! Stayed tuned for new recipes, meal plans and exercise plans in 2013.


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